T.J. Holmes, host of BET’s upcoming show Don’t Sleep, alleges that an encounter with police yesterday in Atlanta may have been a case of racial profiling, otherwise known as “driving while black.” Holmes was pulled over unaware of what he had done wrong and began to document the traffic stop on Twitter.
Holmes says he was less than two miles from his home when officers who had been following him for a few miles pulled him over. He goes on to describe that he immediately put his hands out of the drivers side window to communicate to officers that he had no weapons. He claims when he asked officers why he was pulled over the officer said, ”I wanted to make sure you have insurance on the car.”
In an appearance on the Ed Schultz Show, Holmes said he believes the officers still had no reason to pull him over. One of the officers involved in the encounter was African-American.
Holmes says he was frustrated at the time of the incident when he began tweeting about the traffic stop, but now wonders if he made a mistake tweeting about it.
“All day today I’ve wondered if I maybe I made a mistake. If I did something wrong by inflaming people’s emotions by using the phrase driving while black and putting that out immediately, when there are two sides are clearly polarized on the issue,” he explained to Michael Eric Dyson on the Ed Schultz Show Monday night.
Holmes hopes to put a face and a name on the issue in order to “make it real,” he explained. Holmes has decided not to name the officers or the police department and hopes to work with them to change things in his community without alienating the department.
Follow Caryn Freeman on Twitter.